The book “11 days in December” authored by Stanley Weintraub is not a common typical narration of the Battle of the Bulge. Instead, it depicts the 1944 Christmas holidays as experienced by army men from both sides of a conflict. The book offers a humanistic view in a violent as well as barbaric moment of the world’s past shared history. Weintraub’s book offers a deep and well researched 11 day account of December 1944 about how soldiers at Ardennes faced harsh fighting conditions, like brutal weather, and their efforts to celebrate Christmas and obtain entertainment despite the fact that the war was not over.
Stanley Weintraub narrates the story about the war in a well researched and intuitive manner. In every chapter of the book, the author brings the challenges the soldiers in the war faced, and their shrewd strategies aimed to seek a favorable outcome during the war. For example, he accounts on how Hitler plans to launch a desperate surprise attack to convince the Allies that they cannot win the battle. Another captivating scene in the book is the instance when frontline soldiers prepare Christmas day celebrations despite the fact that they were at war. His composition is thorough, engrossing, and exciting to its audience.
Weintraub attempts to bring the importance of key religious commemorations irrespective of the ongoing circumstances. He offers an insightful account of how soldiers are able to share Christmas under the imminent danger of a surprise attack from the hostile group. How can soldiers from different nations at war celebrate Christmas? Stanley (Arts and Humanities Emeritus/Penn State Univ.) evaluates the question and tries to portray the humanistic side of men at war. The soldiers were ready to commemorate the momentous event in the hope for a better outcome at war, peace and tranquility during their later days. I strongly support Weintraub’s perspective that men should seek and build hope despite their current predicament. Celebrating Christmas is a key phenomenon for all individuals to build hope for a better tomorrow.
The publication probes deep into fascinating facts about the way helping the audience of the book to understand in a better way. For example, why did Hitler remain adamant of launching a surprise attack on the allies? Weintraub’s argument is that Adolf Hitler’s basic intentions for a surprise attack. This was to convince the Allies that there was no way they could have won the battle. This hypothesis is plausible as it had a chance of working if well implemented. Nevertheless, the Conflicting side was adamant to change their positions in the war, and they maintained a strong rebellion against Hitler and his army. Weintraub proposes that probably Hitler sought to earn the Reich a treaty instead of losing the war entirely.
The publication has some chapters that portray the cruelty and bestiality associated with war. Prisoners of war from both sides were tortured and butchered like animals. The prisoners from both sides were exposed in harsh weather conditions which prevailed during the December of year 1944. Some chapters show the malice perpetrated by men to their enemies. During this war, the soldiers shut off their humanity and took up their arms to murder the captured prisoners. These chapters perfectly convince the audience that war has massive negative repercussions, and for this reason it should be avoided.
Weintraub’s narration of the challenges the soldiers faced during the battle is engrossing. He details about the weather at the time, which he characterizes to be harsh and remarkably brutal. The soldiers were also undersupplied with basic utilities, and they were not prepared to engage in battle during such weather conditions. However, they were ready to withstand the numerous detriments they had and fight their opponents in an attempt to obtain a positive outcome.
The poor climatic conditions at the time made some Allied troops get trapped in pockets by the driving rain, as well as snow. Some huddled and even died in the mist or mud in the forest. To make matters worse, the Allied troops were not aware that Hitler had secretly recruited a team of rebel soldiers. Hitler’s soldiers sought to infiltrate the Allies camp without being expected.
The sources of Weintraub’s publication are post war memoirs and wartime diaries. Such memoirs include those of Matthew B. Ridgway as told to Harold H. Martin (Weintraub Pp.184). There are quotes he deduces from the wartime diaries as well as postwar memoirs to let the audience of his work know what is happening. The memoirs and diaries he uses are more accurate than other sources of research materials as they account for even the minor in a narration. They give Weintraub’s publication enhanced credibility and boost the originality ratings of his work. His shifting between both sides of the war gives readers different perspectives about the course of events.
He is careful to alternate between the two sides of the war in his narration. Initially, he uses a considerable amount of time giving details about conflicts between, Bradley, Montgomery, Patton, and Eisenhower. At a point in the text, he pulls away to explain what the Russian was up to at the Eastern Front. Weintraub even finds some space to talk about celebrity news. He talks about how Marlene Dietrich comes along to entertain troops in Ardennes at the time of the attack. He also notifies the audience that Marlene Dietrich catches a frost bite and also sleeps with some officers in the camp.
While some parts in the book showcase love for a fellow man, some scenes depict immense cruelty and inhumanity towards fellow man! All the scenes in the book are moving, and they tend to communicate volumes about the self determination of soldiers in fighting off the enormous German offensive. The publication cannot be considered to be total definitive piece of history writing about the Bulge. Merely, it is just a single aspect of it which is marked by the Christmas experience. This makes it both compelling as well as an interesting read.
The publication offers a historic snapshot of occurrences involving the US and Allied forces at the time of the western front push. This is through Ardennes towards Berlin with a primary goal of bringing the war to an end. The read attempts to humanize various battlefield personal experiences interspersed and which offer more facts and information about the war than numerous government history archives. In a different perspective, the book manifests the various goals of different combatants during the war. That is the US, Germany, and also the Allies.
Despite the fact that the book has quite a proportionate share of advantages, the publication has a small window for criticism. The publication’s content organization is not that ideal. It can also do better with some updated maps and a solid timeline. This will help the audience to obtain accurate account about the course of occurrences during the 1++1 days of December 1944. There should also be a shortlisting of officer characters from both sides. The officer’s divisions should be well stated to enhance understanding by an average reader.
Weintraub’s skill in phraseology is a phenomenon, and the book captivates an audience, all through to the end. In a matter of speaking, the publication can be said to depict a white Christmas in Ardennes Forests, in 1944. Nevertheless, the statement is just but a cold relief to Allied soldiers who were fighting the Nazis from taking Belgium again. The Ardennes battle is considered to be among the most decisive battles which took place during World War II.